Wake Robin resident held on federal poison charge; Facility limits public comments

Wake Robin resident held on federal poison charge; Facility limits public comments

Wake Robin resident held on federal poison charge; Facility limits public comments

Vermont State Police say they and the FBI are investigating possible exposure to the deadly toxin ricin at a retirement housing community in the town of Shelburne.

Emmons went on: "Ms. Miller indicated her goal was to injure herself, but she wanted to test the effectiveness of the ricin on others".

Betty Miller told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents she wanted to "injure herself" and that she was testing the potency of her homemade poison on other residents at the Wake Robin senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint.

"Based on research conducted on the Internet using her laptop, computer, and cell phone, Miller harvested 30-40 castor beans from plants growing on the property of Wake Robin", court documents show. Following instructions obtained online, Miller manufactured a total of between 2 and 3 tablespoons of Ricin on two separate occasions in the kitchen of her residence.

Wake Robin said in a statement on Friday that one apartment was closed off and that the resident living there would not return.

Betty Miller, 70, has been charged with knowing possession of an unregistered select agent.

Miller first appeared in Burlington federal court Friday and will remain in custody until her probable cause hearing December 6. Miller does not qualify financially for the court to provide her with a defense lawyer for the case, Conroy said, asking Miller if she understood she would need to hire her own lawyer.

Truman said department officials continue to work closely with Wake Robin administrators to ensure the health and safety of residents.

The next hearing date was set for 11 a.m. on December 6 to determine probable cause for the charge against Miller and to review whether she will remain in custody while she awaits a trial.

A test done by the Vermont Department of Health also confirmed the results Wednesday morning.

The powder tested positive for ricin.

Investigators found a pill bottle half-full with powder labeled as ricin in a basket in a kitchen cabinet of Miller's apartment amid other pill bottles labeled "apple seed", "cherry seed" and "yew seed", the complaint said.

According to newly filed federal court documents, a Wake Robin resident said she made homemade ricin to harm herself, but first she wanted to test its effectiveness on others to see if it worked.

The Vermont Health Department said it was aware of one person who likely became ill with ricin poisoning found in the retirement community. Miller stated she chose to test the effectiveness of the Ricin on other residents of Wake Robin. During that time, no other residents reported symptoms consistent with ricin poisoning. Ingestion of the poison causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea and hallucinations, according to health officials.

Ricin is a poison derived from castor beans, which are used to make castor oil.

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